lesson 1 An Overview of the Computer System

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1 essential concepts lesson 1 An Overview of the Computer System

2 This lesson includes the following sections: The Computer System Defined Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine Software: Bringing the Machine to Life The Shapes of Computers Today

3 The Computer System Defined A computer is an electronic device used to process data, converting data into information that is useful to people. A complete computer system includes four distinct parts: Hardware Software Data User

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5 The Computer System Defined - Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine Types of Hardware The CPU Memory How Memory is Measured Input and Output Devices Storage Devices

6 Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine - Types of Hardware A computer s hardware devices are categorized as follows: Processor Memory Input and Output (I/O devices) Storage devices

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8 Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine - The CPU The procedure that transforms raw data into useful information is called processing. This function is divided between the computer s processor and memory. The processor is also called the central processing unit (CPU). It manages all devices and performs the actual processing of data. The CPU consists of one or more chips attached to the computer s main circuit board (the motherboard).

9 Central Processing Unit

10 Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine - Memory Memory also consists of chips attached to the motherboard. Memory holds data and program instructions as the CPU works with them. This memory is called Random Access Memory (RAM). The CPU can find any piece of data in RAM, when it needs it for processing. RAM is volatile, meaning it holds data only when the power is on. When the power is off, RAM's contents are lost.

11 Random Access Memory

12 Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine How Memory is Measured The smallest usable unit of measure for memory is the byte the amount of memory required to hold one character, like the letter A or the numeral 2. Computers work with larger chunks of data, measured in multiple bytes, as shown below: Unit Approx. Value Actual Value (bytes) (bytes) Kilobyte (KB) 1,000 1,024 Megabyte (MB) 1,000,000 1,048,576 Gigabyte (GB) 1,000,000,000 1,073,741,824 Terabyte (TB) 1,000,000,000,000 1,099,511,627,776

13 Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine Input and Output Devices Input devices accept data and instructions from the user or from another computer system. The keyboard and mouse are examples of input devices. Output devices return processed data back to the user or to another computer system. The printer and monitor are examples. Communications devices (such as modems and network interface cards) perform both input and output, allowing computers to share information.

14 Hardware: The Nuts and Bolts of the Machine - Storage Devices Storage devices hold data not currently being used by the CPU. Data is commonly stored on a magnetic or optical disk. Each type of disk uses a special medium for storing data on its surface. A disk drive is a device that reads data from and writes data to a disk. Most new computers feature a floppy disk drive, a hard disk drive, and an optical disk drive. The most common optical storage devices are CD- ROM and DVD-ROM drives.

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16 Software: Bringing the Machine to Life What is Software? System Software Application Software

17 Software: Bringing the Machine to Life What is Software? Software is a set of electronic instructions that tells the computer how to do certain tasks. A set of instructions is often called a program. When a computer is using a particular program, it is said to be running or executing the program. The two most common types of programs are system software and application software.

18 Software programs create useful output

19 Software: Bringing the Machine to Life System Software System software exists primarily for the computer itself, to help the computer perform specific functions. One major type of system software is the operating system (OS). All computers require an operating system. The OS tells the computer how to interact with the user and its own devices. Common operating systems include Windows, the Macintosh OS, OS/2, and UNIX.

20 Software: Bringing the Machine to Life - Applications Application software tells the computer how to accomplish tasks the user requires, such as creating a document or editing a graphic image. Some important kinds of application software are: Word processing programs Database management Graphics programs Web design tools and browsers Communications programs Entertainment and education Spreadsheet software Presentation programs Networking software Internet applications Utilities Multimedia authoring

21 The Shapes of Computers Today Supercomputers Mainframe Computers Minicomputers Workstations Microcomputers, or Personal Computers

22 The Shapes of Computers Today - Supercomputers Supercomputers are the most powerful computers. They are used for problems requiring complex calculations. Because of their size and expense, supercomputers are relatively rare. Supercomputers are used by universities, government agencies, and large businesses.

23 Cray T90 Supercomputer

24 The Shapes of Computers Today - Mainframe Computers Mainframe computers can support hundreds or thousands of users, handling massive amounts of input, output, and storage. Mainframe computers are used in large organizations where many users need access to shared data and programs. Mainframes are also used as e-commerce servers, handling transactions over the Internet.

25 Mainframe System

26 The Shapes of Computers Today - Minicomputers Minicomputers are smaller than mainframes but larger than microcomputers. Minicomputers usually have multiple terminals. Minicomputers may be used as network servers and Internet servers.

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28 The Shapes of Computers Today Workstations Workstations are powerful single-user computers. Workstations are used for tasks that require a great deal of number-crunching power, such as product design and computer animation. Workstations are often used as network and Internet servers.

29 The Shapes of Computers Today Microcomputers, or Personal Computers Microcomputers are more commonly known as personal computers. The term "PC" is applied to IBM-PCs or compatible computers. Full-size desktop computers are the most common type of PC. Notebook (laptop) computers are used by people who need the power of a desktop system, but also portability. Handheld PCs (such as PDAs) lack the power of a desktop or notebook PC, but offer features for users who need limited functions and small size.

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31 les s o n 1 review Essential concepts Name the four parts of a computer system. Identify four types of computer hardware. List five units of measure for computer memory and storage. Differentiate the two main categories of computer software. Differentiate the five most common types of computer systems.

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